PENSACOLA, Fla. — Florida Highway Patrol authorities investigating a Pensacola bus crash have hit a Florida construction company with fines and a poor safety rating after one of its dump trucks hit a school bus in August, injuring 16 students and triggering an investigation that discovered a multitude of safety violations.
The Florida Highway Patrol Compliance Investigation Unit began an investigation of G.B. Green Construction Management and Consulting, Inc., whose dump truck and driver ran through a red light August 27 and struck an Escambia County School bus carrying 22 Pensacola High School students.
The impact of the crash caused the school bus to flip onto its side. Sixteen of the passengers and the bus driver were treated at local hospitals for various injuries.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, some of the deficiencies investigators found included:
- at least one severely worn and dry-rotted tire and a number of other mechanical problems that would have put it out of service had it been inspected;
- twenty-four maintenance violations accrued in seven roadside vehicle inspections over the last eight months;
- the complete lack of a policy requiring drivers to complete inspection reports before and after trips, and the absence of a general maintenance policy;
- failure to perform legally mandated drug screenings on drivers, and a failure to test drivers for alcohol and drugs after two separate crashes involving company drivers. (One of those drivers was Abraham Larry Jr., the driver of the dump truck that crashed into the school bus. Mr. Larry was sentenced for cocaine and marijuana possession in June);
- no hours-of-service (HOS) records required under federal law to ensure drivers aren’t fatigued by excessive work hours behind the wheel; Mr. Larry had operated a commercial truck for 95 hours in six consecutive days;
- failure to comply with mandatory annual vehicle inspections;
- failure to ensure their mechanic was qualified to repair brakes.
“There is a concern that purported mechanical deficiencies and poor state of repair of this particular vehicle could be indicative of a broader failure,” wrote Escambia County Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas, who asked authorities to investigate G.B. Green. “The accident involving our school bus and our students and employees could have been much more tragic than it was.”
The construction company has 60 days to pay a $11,250 penalty or file an appeal.
Source: Pensacola News Journal